Hood Work and Touch-and-Goes

Had my first experience with the hood today:

 IFR training hood
IFR training hood

Fashionable right?

We did hooded level flight, level turns, climbs, and descents. All maneuvers made me constantly feel like I was turning. I could still peek out the side a bit, and that probably didn’t help my equilibrium. My flying was mostly really stable except the few times my eyes left the attitude indicator/inclinometer/directional gyro. Then welcome to turn city.

My instrument scans constantly exclude the DG/inclinometer – even when unhooded – and I really need to work on this.

Instructor then demonstrated the procedure for putting out an engine fire. 60 degrees of bank and 2000ft/minute down, whee! I realize now that I need to be able to recite the correct procedures a lot quicker.

Then back to the airport for a set of 5 touch-and-goes. Airport mostly to myself again (11am is a great time to fly). Landings: what a time to be short. Even sitting up as high as I could, neck stretched, I could barely see the runway before flare….making staying on the centerline somewhat hopeless (my peripheral cues did start working for me on the last few landings). CFI4 says I consistently flare at the right height (woo, peripheral vision) but I do tend to balloon [up too high]. My crabbing into the wind is somewhat non-existent/very poor – leading me to drift too close to the tower/runway on the downwind leg (like last time).

Fun times ‘dragging the strip’. The goal was to stay inches above the runway while tracking straight along the centerline.  I’m not pleased with my work in either area. Aileron, rudder, ahhh! In this maneuver, I kept moving the nose up too high and always moved to a foot above the runway. Then, when I made throttle and other corrections, I would end up way off of the centerline (and not even parallel to it, arrr).

The final landing was my first flaps up landing. We turned from downwind too early and were consequently too high. It was fun to aim nose down for the runway though.

Constant, very light wind from the west that died out just over the runway – tricky.

The 150 vs the 152 in the pattern: last time in the pattern, I flew the 152 and had trouble with leveling out at the pattern altitude while simultaneously turning for downwind (FAI pattern altitude is 1500 ft MSL and I kept leveling out at 1600 ft). Today in the 150, I could extend my crosswind leg (longer then last time), and still would not reach pattern altitude by the time I turned downwind. The 152 is so noticeably more powerful! I’m not sure which I like better.  I can stall the 150 a lot easier (good for the final checkride), but the 152 will save me money in fuel when I start doing cross-countries. We’ll see what happens as time goes on.

CFI1 once lent me a type IV foam boat cushion to sit on during my flight block, and it was really fantastic. I could see! Since then I’ve only used 1. a spare couch cushion and/or 2. a pillowcase stuffed with a light blanket. Sometimes one of the cushions would be behind me so I could better reach the rudder peddles on days I felt short (was slouching). These were better than using nothing; all were comfortable…but the boat cushion raised me up the highest. Went to the store today to get my own boat cushion so my sight picture would always be the same for every lesson.

Onyx type IV pfd cushion
Onyx type IV PFD cushion, 2.5 inches of foamy goodness

I was going to buy it online, but reviews said that when buying these cushions, one should make sure the interior foam is not multiple (~8) sheets of foam – cushions with multiple sheets will warp/bunch up/become uncomfortable when the pieces eventually slip over each other inside the fabric. They may also permanently crush down in about a month. You should buy something with 1 or 2 pieces(layers) of foam inside the fabric shell. My new red cushion was actually cheaper at the local Sportsman’s Warehouse than from Amazon (a Alaskan rarity 🙂 ).

Final thought: when taxiing, please slow down before turning [eh, I have the same problem driving cars].

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